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Published: Tuesday, 10/12/2004

Pan-Seared Scallops with Plum and Basil Sauce

Olive oil

12 fresh plums, pitted and diced

3 shallots, minced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine

Juice of 2 lemons

1/4 pound of butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 bunch basil, chopped medium fine

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 pounds sea scallops

Sprig of fresh basil for garnish, if desired

In a medium saucepan, add a touch of olive oil and the plums, shallots, and garlic and cook until shallots are translucent. Add white wine and lemon juice. Cook for 3 minutes.

Strain ingredients, using a mesh strainer over a medium-size bowl. Use a spatula and gently press down on cooked mixture to extract liquid. Add half the liquid to a blender and on medium-high, add half of the cubed butter, one chip at a time, to incorporate. Pour half of the olive oil in a steady stream into the emulsion, then add salt and pepper to taste. Repeat the process with the second half of ingredients, then combine sauce in a medium saucepan place on low heat. Add chopped basil and stir to incorporate. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Pat scallops dry with a paper towel to remove moisture and sear them, in a skillet over medium-high heat, with one tablespoon olive oil (and 2 tablespoons butter if desired). Allow scallops to caramelize, about 2 to 3 minutes, then gently turn over and sear second side for 2 minutes, or until cooked through.

Pour half of sauce on warm dinner plates and place scallops on top, 8 to 9 if medium-size scallops are used, 5 if large deep-ocean scallops are used. Garnish with a sprig of basil and a small dusting of lemon zest if desired, and serve at once. Reserve remaining sauce and pass it at the table.

Yield: 4 servings

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